Hometown Hero | Teenager named first-ever West Virginia National Youth Ambassador

Hometown Hero | First West Virginian Chosen as Youth Heart Ambassador
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 5:36 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - At just 16 years old, one West Virginian has been chosen as one of eight National Youth Ambassadors in the country.

This is just one of many accomplishments of Hillary Gore and doesn’t even begin to describe the journey she’s taken.

We first met Hillary at Appalachian Power Park for the 2022 Heart Walk.

One of hundreds of people to partake, Hillary raised more than $2,500 for the American Heart Association.

As a National Youth Ambassador, her job is to raise money and awareness for the American Heart Association.

“What we do is we go around and we raise awareness for the American Heart Association and help receive donations so that they can help other kids like ourselves,” Hillary said.

The path to success has not been an easy one for Hillary.

Her mother, Amber Miller, said at not even a year old, Hillary had a stroke. Then in the fourth grade, she had to have major surgery.

In the aftermath, she had to learn how to walk again.

Even after both of these frightening events, Amber never lost faith.

“I was told at eight months that she may never walk, talk, ride a bike or wear high heels like me, and it has been my honor, it’s been a pleasure to watch my daughter do all of those things,” Amber said. “She has been one of the most inspiring children on the face of the planet. She’s my reason to make no excuses.”

Hillary said the journey to where she is now may have been difficult; but it’s been more than worth the wait.

She said when she was little, she was bullied for being different.

Paralyzed on her right side, she’s learned to do things a little bit differently, but that hasn’t stopped her before.

Now she wants to use her story to inspire others facing similar challenges.

“The stroke doesn’t define who we are. It’s us that defines who we are,” Hillary said. “So, it doesn’t stop us from doing anything. So, I want to make sure that they know that they can do whatever they want to do and not let this stop them from doing whatever.”

Hillary’s journey is just beginning.

She says she wants to be a screenwriter or writer when she grows up but isn’t going to forget her roots.